Idaho Fish and Game Talking Points for Federal Court Decision on Wolves

This was leaked to me. It is what any Idaho Fish and Game employee is supposed to tell the public or the media if the ask about Judge Molloy’s decision. RM

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Talking Points for Federal Court Decision on Wolves

Federal District Judge Molloy issued a preliminary injunction against wolf delisting on July 18, which reinstated federal ESA protections for the northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf pending final resolution of the case.

  • Idaho plans for wolf hunting seasons are on hold at this point and wolf hunting tags will not be issued by Idaho Department of Fish and Game. We do not know how long it may take for this case to wind its way through the court system. State and federal parties are reviewing legal options. The Commission and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game are extremely disappointed with the ruling and the resulting delay of state management.
  • The judge did provide positive support for Idaho’s management approach. He found Idaho’s depredation control law to provide a similar standard to federal regulations and he found that Idaho management would not threaten the continued existence of the wolf in Idaho.
  • The key basis of the preliminary injunction against delisting is lack of evidence of genetic exchange between wolf subpopulations, a recovery parameter established by the USFWS in the 1990s.
  • The Fish and Game Commission has done everything within its power to get wolves delisted. The judge found that the Commission’s wolf management plan provided adequate protections for wolves. The factors preventing delisting-the genetic viability of wolves in Yellowstone and the judge’s concerns with the Wyoming management plan-are out of Idaho’s control. Idaho will work with the state and federal parties to address those concerns and reinstate delisting as soon as possible.
  • The federal 10(j) of January 2008 is the controlling federal rule for wolves. As allowed under the federal 10(j), states and tribes with approved wolf management plans may manage wolves to ensure the health of wild elk and deer herds and to protect private property. The federal 10(j) rule allows individuals on private or public land to kill a wolf that is in the act of attacking their stock animals or dogs, except land north of Interstate 90 in Idaho, or land administered by the National Park Service, and provided there is no evidence of intentional baiting, feeding or deliberate attractants of wolves.
  • At the end of 2007, there were an estimated 732 wolves in Idaho and the population has been growing about 20% per year.



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Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan